Attitudes toward older adults: A matter of cultural values or personal values?

Xin Zhang, Cai Xing, Yanjun Guan, Xuan Song, Robert Melloy, Fei Wang, Xiaoyu Jin

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The current research aimed to address the inconsistent findings regarding cultural differences in attitudes toward older adults by differentiating the effects of personal and cultural values. In Study 1, we used data from the sixth wave of the World Values Survey to examine attitudes toward older adults across cultures, and how different personal values (i.e., communal vs. agentic) and cultural values (i.e., individualism) predicted these attitudes. The results of hierarchical linear modeling analyses showed that after controlling for potential covariates, personal communal values positively correlated with positive attitudes toward older adults; however, cultural individualistic values did not. To further examine the causal effects of personal values (vs. cultural values), we conducted an experimental study and confirmed that priming personal values rather than cultural values had significant effects on ageism attitudes. The present studies help to reconcile conflicting results on cultural differences in attitudes toward older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitudes toward older adults
  • Communal value
  • Cross-culture differences
  • Individual differences
  • Individualism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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